Speeding Towards Dystopia: Social Policy in the United States and Australia
Free Public Lecture
G08 Theatre, Ground Floor
185 Pelham Street
T: 9035 1111
This event is booked out. The lecture will be recorded and will be published on the Melbourne Law School website.
In a report to the UN Human Rights Council in June, Philip Alston argued that the combination of rapidly growing inequality and 40 million people living below the poverty line endangers American democracy. Policies deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest and punish those who are not in employment will make the situation much worse.
While leading members of Congress endorsed his findings, Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the UN and a Trump cabinet member, replied that “it is patently ridiculous for the UN to examine poverty in America.” Alston should instead have looked at Burundi and the DRC rather than wasting “the UN's time and resources, deflecting attention from the world' s worst human rights abusers and focusing instead on the wealthiest and freest country in the world.”
In this lecture, Professor Philip Alston reflects on what he sees as the increasingly dramatic parallels between the US and Australia, and the threat posed by these developments.
This lecture is presented in collaboration with the Human Rights Law Centre.
Professor Philip Alston, Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice
Professor Philip Alston
Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice
NYU Law School
Philip Alston was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2014 as the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. His mandate is to identify approaches for removing all obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights for people living in extreme poverty. He has occupied many senior roles within the UN including Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals, and chairperson and rapporteur of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. He has taught at the European University Institute, the Australian National University, Harvard Law School, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is widely regarded as one of the world's leading human rights lawyers.